As the only organization exclusively dedicated to serving the needs of elder LGBTQ people of color, GRIOT (Gay Reunion In Our Time) Circle provides health, wellness, advocacy, and leadership activities for community members in New York City. The population served by GRIOT is 90% Black, African and Caribbean-American; 90% are from low income households; and 50% are retired and living on a fixed income.
Their Friendly Visitor program matches seniors with volunteers who make regular visits to seniors’ homes. Buddy to Buddy connects seniors to one another to reduce isolation and for mutual support. During a typical week pre-pandemic, the calendar included gatherings like Spanish class, book club, tai chi and woodworking, alongside HIV support groups, case management and health workshops. A hot lunch was served five days a week.
The pandemic has forced GRIOT to close its physical space. With support from the Stonewall Foundation, many of GRIOT’s services have shifted online, and the community has had to adapt to connecting virtually.
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